Let’s face it. No one is enthusiastic about voting this year.
In fact, no one has been particularly enthusiastic about voting for the past 10, 15, maybe even 20 years.
But you have to do it.
There’s a prevailing wind blowing around Gen Z that says voting is pointless and that continuing to play along with the system just makes people look out of touch and clueless.
But here’s the problem: love or hate it (and it’s safe to assume at this point that everyone hates it), the system is all we have.
While Republicans and Democrats consistently push candidates on the voting public that inspire no joy, Congress keeps passing laws that shape how voting will happen in the future. Local politicians shape districts and set the tone for voting access.
People often pay attention to big elections like the President, and ignore down-ticket candidates who actually have more impact on their day-to-day life. It’s a big mistake. School board members, mayors, governors, local judges and state representatives can have a huge impact in your life and require just as much research and attention as Presidential candidates.
On a national scale, Republicans for the past 30 years have been playing a long game, looking to get conservative candidates into a position of power in order to gain majority control of the Supreme Court of The United States. Because there’s a lot they can affect in policy through the SCOTUS. And it worked. As Democrats continued to squabble publicly over hot-button topics like abortion and Social Security, Republicans plugged along with plans to control the Judicial branch; plans which they eventually saw come to fruition.
If ensuring you have a say in the shaping of lifetime appointments to the SCOTUS isn’t enough to get you to the polls, consider the 2000 election between fmr VP Al Gore and fmr President George W Bush. The entire election came down to a recount in Florida. In the end, Bush won Florida by 0.009% or 537 votes. If 600 more pro-Gore voters had gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been a President Gore from 2000–2008.
And on the flip side in 2020, multiple states had razor-thin victories for Biden that could have easily flipped for Trump if fewer blue voters had taken to the polls.
While this year no one is voting on the President, they are voting on issues that will help determine the next President. Such as voter access laws, districting, judicial appointees and congressional candidates who will shape the legislature for the next 4 years and beyond.
A lot of voters in the United States have shifted from a proactive stance to a reactive one, and the results are playing out in political chaos across the country.
If you want a say in the way taxes, voting access laws, immigration issues, individual rights and so much more are determined over the next few years – you have to vote.
If you don’t know where your polling place is, visit Vote.org to look it up. Election day is November 8, and most locations are offering early voting right now.
Voting may not be cool, and the system may well truly be broken (spoiler alert: it is), but doing something to make minute improvements is better than doing nothing. Through voting, citizens have an opportunity to create the kind of tomorrow they hope for – instead of the kind of tomorrow they want to turn off the news to avoid.